Reggae on the River is an exhilarating experience. People are so happy to be here in Humboldt County, the crowd-watching is mind-blowing, and the whole point of it — the live music — is fantastic. (You just have to get past the Eel River looking like it got swallowed by motor vehicles and the rare, um, douche bag. But such is life.)

Like in many, if not most, aspects of our lives in Northern California, weed is ubiquitous at Reggae. To be clear though, Reggae is not a weed fest. I repeat: Reggae on the River is not a weed fest. There just happens to be a lot of weed-lovers at Reggae. It’s probably a coincidence, but just to be sure, LoCO On the Pot chatted a few people up at the festival to find out why they came to Reggae and what weed has to do with their experience.

I talked to many people on my pilgrimage to Reggae, and this may come as a surprise, but some folks turned down the opportunity to have their mug posted on the LoCO. I know, I know. It’s hard to believe. But still, everyone was very friendly, and I had a great time!

Oh, what’s that phrase? Yes, that’s right. There were “positive vibrations in the air.”

GREGO: “I’m at Reggae for the music, and weed has nothing to do with it!”

SPIRIT HORSE: “I come to Reggae to go outside of mind. Weed helps facilitate that and it makes the sound bigger and easier to move to.”

P: “I’m here at Reggae for the social environment, for the music, to meet new people and to make money.” As for the weed, he says, “There’s always that different flavor, variety — I’m coming for new experiences with that.”

EMILY: “I’m at Reggae because I sell the most bomb cannabis healing salve and all these other herbal healing products — all hand-made and cold-infused.” As for the weed, she says, “Weed is the most healing herb on the planet. It’s been used forever.”

IAN: “I’m here to spend some time with my sister and to volunteer for the schools in Southern Humboldt.” As for how weed ties in, Ian says “Weed has quite a bit to do with it. Me and my sister enjoy it, and I love being out here and smoking and having a good time. That’s about it though. I support the community, I support legalization and all that. And yeah, I’m glad to be a part of it.”

KATIE: “I am at Reggae to pretty much have a family reunion, and I’m definitely not here for the weed. I am absolutely here for the people. I hung up my apron last year — I make my means other ways. I love my whole Humboldt family that has been in my life for the last 10 years, they’ve just completely created who I am. And I would come back to Reggae every year to see all my people.”

GEORGIA (on the left) and McKINLEY:

McKinley: “I wanted to experience something different than your normal festival, and all my friends that I met at Lightening in a Bottle told me that this is one of their favorite festivals — just really really good people and good energy.”

As for the weed and her Reggae experience, McKinley says “I think that weed empowers people to be a lot less aggressive and angry, like at the EDM festivals. [EDM is Electronic Dance Music.] It’s just about love and giving, and weed really does that. I never used to smoke weed, I used to be very against it my whole life, and once I started smoking weed I actually found myself becoming a lot more calm, and guiding myself, actually. Weed has helped me in a lot of ways with that.”

Georgia on Reggae: “It was kind of a last-minute decision — I decided last night. I had a day off, and it was perfect timing, perfect weather. I wanted to be in the sun with good vibes, good people, and I kind of just went for it.”

How weed ties in to her experience: “A lot of people at these kinds of festivals will be smoking to kind of just chill out and enjoy the music more. It really deepens your connection to the music.”

XIOMARA:  Why Xiomara is at Reggae: “Because I’m a Rastafari, free-spirit. Reggae is good for the spirit. That’s why.” As for the weed, she says, “Weed is medicine.”

NICK: Nick is at Reggae “to smoke weed in a place where I can do it comfortably and not be harassed for it.” He says, “Weed has everything to do with it. It makes if fun. You come here to be comfortable. You don’t have to worry about people coming up on you and all that.”

TH: She calls herself “Trinity Hunny,” and she is at Reggae for “socialization, community, reggae music and the amazing, ironic, coincidental beauty that brought me here and helped me find everybody that I was supposed to find.”

And as for how weed ties in, she says, “Everything. I’m only here because somebody’s watching mine right now.”

SMURFY D: “We are at Reggae because I am a reggae artist and I’m getting myself out there. I’m from Jamaica, we’re here for three months now. I was in South LA, and we just heard about the show, and we came over here to get ourselves familiar with the peoples. We’re looking forward to next year — to be in the show. I’m an independent artist — my name is Smurfy D.”

As for the weed and Reggae, he says, “It’s like you’ve got bread and butter, in some sense. So, when you see the reggae music, you always think about weed because reggae music is also followed by the Rastafarians, and Rastafarianism is about weed too. So, it’s a combination, it’s a mixture, like a cocktail because everything is together — the reggae music, the Rasta and the weed.”

PEARL AND HER BUD SISTER: Pearl says, “I’m at Reggae to sell my salve that my Bud Sister and I make out of coconut oil and cannabis. It’s wonderful. Best salve on the planet — relief for all kinds of pain. I highly recommend it.”

MATT: “I’m at Reggae because of Bob Marley. I started with Bob Marley when I was 13 years old. I’m 30 years old now, and Bob Marley lead me to Jesus Christ, lead me to Rastafari, lead me to all other reggae music, and also lead me to the Twelve Tribes of Israel, which started in Jamaica and is now all over the world… And I love reggae because I love Jah.”

As for how weed ties in, Matt says, “It’s the healing of the nation. It’s God’s given herb. It’s God’s given right to man to relieve ourselves from the stress of everyday life. In the normal world there’s Tylenol and there’s all these different drugs, but we just smoke herb and listen to good music, and that’s medication.”

TINA: “I’m at Reggae because I love reggae music and I’m all about the whole Rastafari movement.” She adds, “Weed is just a part of it — it’s an easy way to smoke, nobody cares. You don’t need to hide your blunt roll or anything like that. Share your weed — the more the merrier!”

One love. Respect. Big up. All of that.